Saturday, February 06, 2010

Darkness Visible

Velvet's new 100 word challenge this week is "Darkness".

You can't see it, but it's there. It's doubt. Fear. Loneliness. Anger. It's cynicism. It's snark, and spite, and denial of the rationality of those who oppose you. It's rage, and violence, and destruction. It's separation from light, goodness, trust, hope. You can see it in the path you've chosen, and you can see it reflected in the embryonic psyche of your child. You never wanted them to find it, but they know it now, and they will learn the contours of the insides of the fog soon enough. It's there, and it's growing, and it pulls at your ankles.

Another Fascinating Thought from Dan Carlin

Podcaster and gadfly Dan Carlin has a very interesting answer to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Carlin believes, and I have to admit he is right, that, constitutionally, Citizens United was correctly decided. The way, Dan thinks, to prevent a few megaphones from overwhelming everyone else's voices in the public square, is a simple one. It appears to be constitutional to require parties to disclose the names and amounts of their donors. Therefore, you let parties raise whatever monies they wish. However, you give government matching funds to the other parties so that they may spend on the same level. You're not limiting anyone's speech-you're just making sure everyone can speak at the same volume. Third parties? Let's say anyone who receives more than 1% of the vote in a Federal election gets the same funds. So the Democrats raise $500 million, and the Republicans raise $450 million. So the Republicans get $50 million, and so does the Green Party, and the Constitution Party, and the Independent Party.

Carlin's proposal limits the appeal of corporate donations-why give money to the President when you know his opponent gets the same amount. dollar for dollar.

Cost too much? How much is wasteful Federal spending on bailouts and subsidies now?

This is impossible, of course-just like health reform, there are too many well entrenched interests who are passionately involved in keeping things exactly as they are.

Good food for thought, though, as always.

Riddle Me This, Quizmaster

A very distressing Slate Political Gabfest this week, forecasting deficits as far as the eye can see.

The President's 2011 budget forecasts a 1,145 billion (1.145 trillion) dollar budget deficit for 2011. Granted, this is only his proposal. Granted, all forecasts are provisional. But let's just take it as a given, for discussion's sake.

All those of you who want the government to limit spending, listen up. Let's pretend we have a line item veto, and let's zero out discretionary spending. Nothing. Kill it all. NASA-gone. School lunches-it's over. Job training-forget about it.

You know what your deficit is then? 1,145-530=615 billion dollars.

Until we cut Social Security, Medicare, and the Defense Department, we're not going to get the budget under control.

We're never going to cut those programs-it is politically impossible.

So if you're worried about deficits, explain how you're going to tell seniors that their checks are going to be cut in half-because if you're really serious about cutting spending, that's what you have to do.

(And if any seniors are reading this? Please dispense with the "I paid into it" argument. Your money that you paid is gone-it went to your parents. You're now spending my money. Just thought you ought to know that.)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

On Death and Dying: "Good Grief!"

This is a really tremendous article about death and dying, "Good Grief" from poet Meghan O' Rourke, which I learned about from the always interesting Slate Cultural Gabfest podcast at

"Perhaps the stage theory of grief caught on so quickly because it made loss sound controllable. The trouble is that it turns out largely to be a fiction, based more on anecdotal observation than empirical evidence. Though [Elizabeth] Kübler-Ross captured the range of emotions that mourners experience, new research suggests that grief and mourning don’t follow a checklist; they’re complicated and untidy processes, less like a progression of stages and more like an ongoing process—sometimes one that never fully ends."

Complicated and untidy. Just like life.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

When people say Republicans are stupid....

....this is what they're talking about.

Research 2000 polled self identified Republicans and asked them a series of questions. A number of the responses are disturbing on many levels (such as 39% believing the President should be impeached, and 31% believing that contraception should be outlawed), but the one that caught my attention is the following:

36% of those surveyed believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

I'm sorry, if we can't agree on a simple fact like this, I'm not sure if we can agree on anything at all. The fact that the President was born in Hawaii is about as close to being nailed down as a fact can be, barring the fact that we weren't actually in the room as it happened.

Really? Seriously? 36%?

Ah Forgetted to Remember to Forget

The lovely and talented Novelista Barista hosted a brief screed of mine over on her front porch at

If you're absolutely determined to collect everything I ever writtened, you can find it here. If you are so determined, you also really need to get your head examined.